Central Okanagan  

Summerland celebrates Heritage Week

Summerland is celebrating BC Heritage Week from Feb. 18-24 and once again have chosen a heritage building, site and tree.

This year’s heritage building -- as chosen by the Heritage Advisory Commission -- is the home of Isaac Blair, located at 14612 Garnett Valley Road.

Blair was born in Truro, Nova Scotia in 1840 and played a prominent role in the early development of the town.

At the age of 35 he moved to Boston and established the Isaac Blair Construction Company. Over time, it became one of the most prominent construction firms in New England and is still active today, as part of Marr companies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Blair retired to Summerland in 1910 at the age of 70 and served as a municipal councilor in 1914, before becoming the town’s Reeve (an elected chief executive) from 1915-1919. He battled through an influenza epidemic, but never could recover and died in 1922.

The 2013 heritage site is the dacite columns on the western slope of Giant’s Head Mountain, which formed when the mountain began to re-erupt. It’s made up of a resurgent volcanic dome, similar to Mount St. Helens, and as the volcanic lava slowly cooled, it created pentagon shapes in the basalt. There is no direct roadway to the columns, but the rocky outcrops can be found when one heads north from the Public Works yard.

The birch trees at the Atkinson home adjacent to Summerland Sweets have been chosen as the heritage trees for 2013, and were planted by Ted Atkinson nearly 90 years ago. He was one of Summerland’s most prominent citizens and worked as a scientist at the town’s research station. Later, Atkinson served on municipal council for 17 years, including eight as the Reeve and founded Summerland Sweets, which had their first year of sales in 1960.

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